Health & Medical Yoga

Basics of Zen Teaching - Past and Present

Zen Buddhism is a branch of Mahayana Buddhism, and the basis is of the Mahayana sutras, written in India and China.
The most important among them include lankavatara sutra, diamond sutra, heart sutra and a chapter in Lotus sutra.
Also notable are the following points about Zen: 1) The basics of Zen teachings also include the fundamental elements of Buddhist philosophy.
The eightfold path, four noble truths, five skandhas and three dharma seals are included in Zen teachings.
However, the teachings in Zen tradition are restricted only to Mahayana Buddhism.
2) Zen teachings are influenced by Chinese philosophy, particularly Taoism.
The Zen teachings do not entail any intellectual philosophy.
In fact, they help to practice meditation regularly.
They emphasize the prevention of ego and selfishness.
The disciples who learn Zen teachings need to perform some tedious tasks as a common person; Zen philosophy believes in acquiring knowledge from all the aspects of life.
The knowledge thus acquired can help to get enlightenment.
3) The main aim of Zen teachings is to discover and feel the nature of Buddha, which is the nature of the mind within each and every person.
It is important to understand that alertness can help attaining this easily.
Another thing required to reach Buddha-nature includes six paramitas.
The six paramitas surpass the confines of the mortal body.
They include charity, discipline, patience, strength, meditation and wisdom.
The Zen practitioner can master these six paramitas by practice, and it is also important to remove the obstructions that block the supreme vision of Buddha nature.
4) In order to attain the Buddha nature, Zen practitioners believe in meditation and mindfulness that can help in gaining new perspectives and insights, thereby leading to enlightenment.
5) Zen philosophy does not support religious texts.
They condemn the textual hermeneutics.
Instead, the Zen Gurus leads the practitioner to seek external answers.
The Gurus guide the practitioner to search within himself the Buddha-nature.
They help in focusing the attention on meditation that can lead to unmediated consciousness.
This is normally termed as turning an eye inward" in Zen practice.
6) Zen teachings entail techniques and practices that are found in many suttas and sutras of Buddhist principles.
Bodhidharma used the Lankavatara sutra to teach the techniques of dhyana.
7) Zen teachings often specify the attainment of emptiness of the mind.
Emptiness typically means that no self, no ego, no holiness and no permanence.
Understanding the importance of emptiness of mind is the first step in learning this beautiful philosophy.
Thus Zen teachings help practitioners know how to live by inquiring and clarifying themselves.
Self-questioning is the essence of Zen philosophy.
It is normally suitable to the contemporary way of thinking.
Zen philosophy emphasizes seeking salvation not through others, but by the practitioner himself.
This is the reason for why more and more people are willing and dsiring to go through Zen practice.
Though Zen teachings have a long history of 1500 years, they have gained more popularity in 1960's.
And nowadays, it is common in the West to hear Zen style, which often refers to quiet and a state of emptiness.
Zen teachings suggest sitting in meditation in the morning and evening at least for five minutes.
The practitioner can enjoy endless benefits by doing Zen meditation regularly.

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